PORTLAND, OR -- As Central Oregon's economy continues to expand, so does the need for electricity. A new report by the Bonneville Power Administration reveals there are steps the agency needs to take to accommodate anticipated growth in Central Oregon.
The BPA's Kevin Wingert tells KBND News the study was in response to large load additions requested last year in Crook County. "We’re not talking about a shortage of power, but more of an issue of transmission capacity. And, BPA is addressing that capacity issue moving forward by a series of steps that we’re committing to. Some are in the near term and then some that are a little bit further out and dependent upon what occurs in the future in terms of load in Central Oregon." He adds, "We’re beginning to address the capacity issue, moving forward, by installing a series of capacitors at our Slatt substation that will help to increase the interconnection capability in the area by 315 megawatts and we’re estimating that we’ll be able to do that by June 2019." More research is needed before a large grid infrastructure project could move forward to add another 270 MW. Click HERE to read the study summary.
Wingert acknowledges the study was conducted in response to Prineville city officials asking whether the region could handle another large development, like a new data center. The agency conducts regular studies, but Wingert says a 2012 report that showed sufficient capacity didn’t take into account equipment that has since been retired and changes to power generation in southern Oregon. "There are things that change over time, whether it’s load, or generation, or age of the equipment. And, I think in this particular area, we’re working on some better communication with us and our partners and customers to make sure, going forward, there are no surprises."